‘The remote control of your life is in your hands’
Bangalore, (India), April 14, (Tuesday) 8:30pm: The satsang this evening celebrated Vishu (New Year), which is observed in parts of India. The celebratory atmosphere became more joyous when Sri Sri entered the ashram amphitheatre. To mark the festival, a procession of people carrying diyas (candles) and flowers (traditionally called the thalappoli) walked with Sri Sri. The resident ashram elephants – Maheswara and Indrani – also joined the entourage.
Over 3,000 people participated in the satsang this evening.
Q: Guruji, you say hurt is part of love. Do you ever get hurt in love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s only in the beginning stages. When you move into knowledge and wisdom, then nothing can hurt you.
Q: Can students be equal to their Guru? If yes, then how?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, absolutely. The Guru will make you an equal. The Guru will make you like him. This is only for those who want to be like him. It is not by compulsion. Knowledge melts the difference between you and me.
Q: Are the Mahabharata and Ramanayana true? Maybe there were just rumours which became hyped up at the time.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then you will believe that all of history is a myth. If Buddha is a myth, then so is Jesus and so is Mahavira. This is because miracles are attached to all these stories. But if you accept only Krishna as true and not Rama or that Jesus lived on the planet and not Rama, then there is something wrong in your thinking.
Did Moses exist? Could the Red Sea have been parted? If the Red Sea could have been parted, then the bridge to Sri Lanka could have been built too.
Q: I had a terrible fight with my mother this morning. How do I get her to listen to my point of view?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Patience and perseverence. Keep these two things in your mind – don’t expect someone to accept you immediately. Give a little bit of your ideas to people. Then leave them for a few days so that they have time to digest the ideas. Then again you share some ideas. So, bit by bit you can tell them. Then perhaps, you will change your point of view! This happens many times. Life is very complex, the intellect is very intellect – we should not be stuck with something. Our mind should be flexible, not rigid.
Q: What is the better way to stay in the present moment? Concentrate on the breath or observe the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both happen simultaneously. There is no choice for you.
Q: How to react when a close one breaks your trust?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When someone breaks your trust, give them another chance, and another chance and another chance. When they keep breaking your trust, then you know how to behave with them.
Q: How to become an angel?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no way. You already are one!
Q: Youth support your vision for change. There is no role model. When will the Art of Living come up with a political party?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no role model because the spot is waiting for you. You be a role model. It is only spirituality that can bring transformation in the nation. Devoid of spirituality, politics becomes so corrupt.
Q: Do you need to be aggressive or calm to achieve your goal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both. You have to be calm and dynamic. I won’t call it aggression. Sometimes you have to be dynamic – whenever needed.
Q: What does the intellect have to do with spirituality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Spirituality makes your intellect sharp. They are not contradictory, they complement each other. Don’t think spiritual people shut down their intellect. They have a spirit of enquiry. Your questions assume a higher dimension. If your intellect is mature, then you have no choice but to be spiritual.
Q: Man says that the blood flow is controlled by heart. The heart is controlled by the brain. What controls the brain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is the life force.
Q: I have so many flaws. Everyone threw me away, you took me into your arms? How?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Easily. Everyone can do this. Accept people as they are.
When you have the remote control in your hands, you can change the channel on the television. The same television can show a horror channel or something nice. The remote control of your life is in your hands.
Q: How to control the drug menace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Sudarshan Kriya! It gives so much intoxication, that is good enough.
Q: How does one balance seva and studies?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know how to ride a bicycle? If you steer to the right, then it goes there. If you steer to the left, the cycle goes there. You have to balance life.
Q: What can I do to mitigate astrologically bad periods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Chant ohm namo shivay and meditate.
Q: There is a lot of back-stabbing and politics in my office.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: People play politics. When you think they play politics, then it becomes big for you. Even if they do something small, then you think it is intentional.
Just understand the human mind. If people behave like that, it’s their nature. They play all these games because they are ignorant. It is the weakness which brings up these tendencies.
Have compassion. When you label them, then you are cutting off communication with them. People will not be the same everyday. They change. They change also because of the way we interact with them. In February, I met some Maoists in Jharkhand (India). I told them to drop the bullets and take the ballot. They have done that and are now standing for the elections.
We should not cut off communication with people, however they are. We should bring out the greatness in people. If we retrieve in our shells, others will then perceive us as close-minded people. People are people wherever they are. Don’t see intention behind their mistakes. Give them the benefit of doubt.
Q: Where is the seat of atma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have a mind. Close your eyes and search for it. You will that it is everywhere and nowhere. It is not an object to be kept somewhere. The field is all over.
Q: What is beauty?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That which is innocent (shivam), that which is truth (satyam).
Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram. That is what is divinity. Every child looks so beautiful, whether the child is from Mongolia, Africa, Bangaladesh. Why is it so? This is because of innocence.
Q: How can we achieve Trupti and be satisfied in whatever I have?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just wake up and see. Even if you get crores of rupees in the future, then what? Can you spend all the money? You will just put it in the bank. Then you will die and your children will fight over that money. This is what we do. It is unwise to postpone being happy in order to gain something. Aspire for something but be happy now.
When you feel that you have everything now, you will have more. Do you know who gets invited to dinners? The one who has plenty to eat.
Feel the plentitude.
Q: So many people have been born in the last few years? Where are the new souls coming from?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Many animal species have disappeared. Now you don’t see sparrows, snakes and scorpions. There is no dearth for souls. There are plenty of them.
Have you seen advertisements on a billboard? Sometimes only few letters get lit. For example, an advertisement for Lux soap or Colgate toothpaste.
The bulbs are there all the time. Sometimes some bulbs are lit, others are not. In the same way, the souls are there. Some manifest, some don’t.
(Many youth from the ongoing Yes+ programme shared their experiences. Sri Sri told them:
“Save your mind at all costs. We talk about saving the environment, saving the world but not the mind. Tell yourself: I am in charge of my life, my mind. Nobody can make me unhappy.”
Q: Whom do you worship?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation is the culmination of prayer. One parmatma, one divinity – is everywhere.
Q: What is the secret behind the ever-green smile?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have no idea. Perhaps it’s because I always walk my talk and talk my walk.)
The satsang ended with a group of volunteers presenting a contribution of Rs 3 lakh for relief work in Sri Lanka. This group taught the Breath-Water-Sound workshop in 12 villages in the last week. They shared their sankalpa (intention) of reaching out to 1,000 villages in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu within a year’s time. From April 15th, a Youth Leadership Training Programme will commence in a village where alcoholism was rampant. “Even the police were unable to reach the residents of the village. Someone went and spoke to them about the YLTP. They agreed to participate in the programme,” shared a member of the group.